Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Decade is Done

2009 is almost in the books, ending a wild year and also a pretty crazy decade. 10 years ago at this time all of the talk was on “Y2K” and how our computers would not start on New Year’s Day and how if we didn’t have water and food stored in our basements we’d be sorry. (I actually still know 2 people who still keep the emergency rations). Now, funny as it sounds, those were more SIMPLE times. Imagine if right now those were all the worries we had? 1999 was pre 9/11, pre airport security, pre bank bailouts and just an easier go. Hopefully in 2019, when someone else is doing this blog, (it’ll probably be much better then too…) they’ll look back and say that 2009 was easy or simple… who knows. Bottom line is no matter the time or adventure, we all have to deal with it and move forward. Gonna be an interesting start to the new decade that’s for sure!


-- Unless something crazy happens (and nothing crazy happens in our industry… right…) this will be my last post of 2009. I have to once again thank everyone out there reading it. I am grateful that you take the time to check out my weekly “therapy” sessions. Obviously it’s my wish to all of you for a happy and healthy holiday season and a tremendous 2010!

-- I wonder if we as an industry should start having BEC and Glassweek starting at 1AM like the Senate just did to pass health care. Am I the only one who just finds this totally comical? (The meeting not the bill… well the bill actually has some serious warts to it too… but trying to meet an artificial deadline by meeting in the middle of the night? How is that right?)

-- Was left a comment on NFRC on the last two posts and am trying to follow up… if you have info please feel free to e mail me…

-- Props to the folks at the NGA for throwing in their 2 cents on the ASHRAE 90.1 issue. One thing our industry takes heat for is we are supposedly not in “consensus” enough for the folks on the other side. Well I think on this one we have been in serious lockstep in our desires to not see our industry downsized or affected. (And personally I think our industry has banded together well on many issues except for the fact that the other side sometimes thinks some players are legit, when in reality they are not…. I won’t say more because I’ll get in trouble but those who know these deals, know exactly who I am talking about) In any case it is good to see this industry stick together when it affects our livelihoods.

-- As those of you who read this know.. I am not a fan of the Department of Energy and especially some of the bureaucrats that refuse to get educated on our industry. Anyway I was sent this piece last week by a lotal blog reader and it’s pretty telling… guess I am not the only one:
Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter Administration? Anybody? Bottom line… We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency...the reason for which many who read this can’t remember!
It was very simple...and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate. The Department of Energy was instituted on 8-04-1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL. Hey, pretty efficient, huh???
32 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports. Ah, yes -- good ole bureaucracy.

Great note… and it really gives you confidence in the government eh?

Off to the Links…

-- Speaking of Energy… a few months ago I linked to the battle in California on putting Solar farms in the desert… those actions were blocked and this story brings it full circle… amazing the battle between using renewable energy (and creating tons of construction jobs) but having to protect the land (it’s a desert so does that really count?)

-- I am seriously depressed…. Domino’s Pizza is changing its recipe…. My gosh is NOTHING sacred!! I guess these guys never heard of “New Coke” (By the way Domino's ranks 3rd in my all time favorite food list behind M&M's and Pop Tarts and in College I used to get Christmas cards from the local Domino's branch)

Videos of the week

Yes it’s VIDEOS as in two… as my Christmas gift to you… the first comes from the esteemed Kim Mann… its football and some creative filmwork together making some very cool commercials. Especailly the last stunt…

The second one is for all of you 24 Fans out there… what happens when Jack Bauer has to interrogate Santa? This is simply classic and gets me pumped for 24’s return here in a few weeks…

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Sexy" Products Are Good

So this week the President had a speech where he commented that some building materials like windows are “sexy” because of the money they could save. After I heard that it made me wonder because President Obama’s opinion seems to run opposite of the code folks and even the folks at the Department of Energy. When Marc LaFrance (DoE) heard the president say it, he probably piped up with some random and outdated statistic about Low E usage. See and that continues to be the problem… the President of the United States can see the potential/ability our material has and heck he didn’t even see the incredible dynamic and solar products being developed every day, yet will the DoE ever get around to respecting it and will the codes stop abusing it? I always hold out hope because as you’ve seen here the folks representing our industry are top notch but even with that the opposition is just so huge. So for now I’ll take “sexy” and run with it and hopefully it will bring people to the realization that they have some amazing products right under their noses.


-- I was going to hit on some NFRC stuff, but fellow blogger Chuck Knickerbocker did a great job in his last post (if you missed it, it’s here.) Funny I have even seen it printed and at glaziers, so it’s being used to educate. (Funny… people sure are printing a lot from USGNN these days…hmmm) The difference between Chuck and me? He’s a level headed, experienced and class guy…. And I am surely not… especially on this issue.

-- Folks be very wary of the note on USGNN about the UL/ICC partnership. I will have more on this later but this will not be fun or good for our industry upon first blush.

-- Doesn’t it worry you that there’s a huge rush to get Health Care figured out by Christmas but the actual program won’t kick in until something like 2014?

-- Construction jobless rate jumped to 19.4% in November… ugh BUT commercial construction starts were 6% higher in the same month… so who knows but I think the “doing more with less” mantra is everywhere.

-- Speaking of scary… Reed Construction had this blurb:

As this ugly year ends, it is clear that 2010 will be a better year for the economy, although the recovery will be disappointingly slow. The sluggish economic growth in the 2% plus range is close enough to zero that some industries and some regional markets will continue to shrink for many more months, says Reed Construction Data chief economist Jim Haughey

Yep who needs to diet… just read this and you want to toss your last meal.

-- Switching gears… Can Indy and New Orleans go unbeaten? Can you imagine if two 18-0 teams met in the Super Bowl? Our TV’s and computers would melt from the hype. Hopefully that doesn’t happen as all the Viking and Eagle fans I am friends with would be very unhappy… shame Pittsburgh doesn’t have a team… ha ha

-- Anyone going to IBS this year? With that side of the business starting to perk up some, I wonder if the return to glory days will be this year or next year. How will we know? When exhibitors hire midget Elvis, Elvira and Dolly Parton imitators (like was done in the past) to work their booth, you know happy times are here again…

Off to the Links…

2 weeks… no “Link Chick”… maybe need to send an SOS out for her. So this week, these are all mine… and a couple of real doozies here….

-- This has to be the story and study of the year… a doctor in Germany did a study on men’s habits… specifically seeing if men who stare at women’s chests are healthier than those who don’t. Seriously. (I am sure we’ll have this in the US backed by Stimulus cash) Anyway I won’t ruin the results… the story is here… amazing…

-- Those who know me, know I love Fantasy Football… well come companies do not… and Fidelity just FIRED four guys for playing… ouch…

-- I swear this story comes up every year… a cellphone bill for $20,000 for a 13 year old! This one somehow downloaded a ton of stuff to run up the bill… ooops and yikes…

Book of the Week:

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. It’s over 700 pages long and a tremendously easy and enjoyable read. If you love NBA hoops, then you will love this book. Simmons by the way is in my opinion the best sportswriter in America right now.

Video of the Week:

No clue who this young man is, but he’s got great stage presence. He does the Top 10 Tiger Woods jokes… most you have heard I am sure… but pretty comical stuff…

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Playing Good Defense

The “bogus” (my opinion) lawsuit against the primary manufacturers was back in the news this week and it looks like the manufacturers are trying to turn the tables a bit. And quite frankly that’s a good thing. Anyone who followed this suit knows it was a blatant copycat suit based on things that happened in Europe. Just because certain things went down over there, it was assumed by the sharks out there that it happened here… heck it probably even wasn’t assumed… the lawyers got wind, saw a chance to cash in and off they went. I rail on this because it does nothing good for our industry in the long run. With glass under severe pressure in DC and in the codes, the last thing the primaries need is to be defending themselves against something so inane. Hopefully their moves this week payoff.


-- Did you see “Cash for Caulkers” may be coming soon? Oh man, I just hope it goes better than previous attempts. And by the way I get a kick out of people talking about how excited they are about Congress taking on a new Energy Star provision in place of the 30/30. (Tax credits) Yet those same people will defend 30/30 publicly when logic plainly tells you that the 30/30 was wrong, severely biased and at the end of the day caused more pain for people than good.

-- Speaking of good… I won’t mention a certain football team that used to be good…. And seemingly is not anymore… as a buddy of mine wrote the other day… Pittsburgh Steelers playoffs in 2009…RIP.

-- Saw that Glassweek and BEC registration is now open… please make room in your life for it, these events are very good at every level (educational, motivational, and networking) and should not be missed. Do to GANA’s website for more info.

-- Check out the new website from ICD, which also features a Blog… and so we get to hear from the all knowing, all famous “Glass Pundit” Kris Vockler again. The first entry is HERE and you can also see that ICD is also “Twitter” worthy so you can follow there as well. It’s good stuff and it’s great to have the Pundit’s voice being heard once again!

-- Could anyone have predicted the craziness around Tiger Woods? Wow. My take is the guy follows in a long line of bred to be great athletes that missed out on living his life. Then once they “make it” they go back after all that may have been missed. Some of those folks turn to drugs or alcohol… and Tiger went his own way… I am surely not endorsing it, but I can see it as all the guy did since he was 2 was golf… eventually you crack.

-- Last, I went to the mall this past Saturday and was stunned on how packed it was… even though the economy is down the stores were jumping and I was impressed that the stores had holiday help on hand. It just shows that this season is a priority for many… however if you usually give to charity or sponsor a family this season, please don’t give that up- charitable giving is down considerably and those are the folks that truly need and appreciate it.

Off to the Links…

Have not heard from the “Link Chick” in a few weeks… must be mad at me for some reason… maybe its because I pick on anonymous posters… who knows… anyway I have a few leftovers from her AND a few of my own…

-- This one was amazing.., this guy blew.. get this… 127 MILLION in one year in Las Vegas casinos… Interesting story about it HERE… 127 million!

-- On the flipside of that… this guy hangs around the track and picks up discarded tickets… and guess what some of those turn out to be winners… made something like 45k last year on throw-aways!

-- Very nice story on an Olympian getting her record from 1936 recognized… in fact I have seen a documentary on this woman, truly tremendous person and I am thrilled that a wrong was righted here.

-- PETA wants college mascots to be robots… starting with the University of Georgia Bulldog…. Yeah sorry I am not feeling it…

VIDEO of the Week

To me I love when a little man (in hoops terms) goes up and slams… this week Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets did just that taking it strong to the hole and slamming it home.. check it out!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A "Chapter" to read about

So it’s been a slow week in the industry eh? Man I wish there was a big story for me to comment on… I wish Tiger Woods owned a glass company… Seriously though… on to the subject on many minds… Chapter 11... Without any question I have never experienced anything like this week or this process. I have had a range of emotions that have run the absolute gamut. I have been brightened (actually blown away) by so many class people in this industry who reached out to me to express their support. I have also been amazed/impressed by the efforts of the people I work with. They walked into a firestorm Monday and performed tremendously all the while dealing with the industry’s biggest story of the year. I have been mad at myself for being drawn into on-line petty arguments by anonymous posters. I know better but I’m a sucker. I am sad because I know so many vendors are disappointed, upset, angry, and mad at how this is going down… even though at this point so much is unknown. I am thankful that even though some out there look at this bankruptcy so negatively, 1800 people had their jobs saved because of it. That has to count for something right?

OK, so let’s talk…I sit on this blog and make snarky and sarcastic comments each week with a sprinkle of a compliment here and there. A story like this one would be tailor made for me to comment on, so I will and here goes…

Obviously when a company the size of Arch has to head in this direction it’s a sign of some tough times. I have railed on the banks and like my friend Jim Fairley noted on one of message boards- have you had to deal with these guys recently? No one wants to be in this position that’s for sure and there’s no joy in it. And yes while the banks are frustrating we put ourselves in the position to be at the mercy of them, so end of the day it is our “fault” (if assigning blame) that we headed this way.

Now when people anonymously comment that the ownership of Arch is out gallivanting in expensive cars or homes, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Fact is the ownership of Arch- the Silverstein family along with my brother Steve- gave up their equity in the company in this deal. Umm that is a HUGE thing. I don’t see them as being joyous. I see them as being thankful to be given another chance, to be there for a loyal customer base and to eventually, somehow, make their vendors happy again. But most of all, like noted above I think they are most thankful that the company and the people left have jobs, because the alternative would not be very good. 1800 families appreciate it.

And a note, I give major kudos to Bob Price of JE Berkowitz & Bill Stone of Louisville Plate for going “on the record” with their comments on this situation. (While I can disagree with them though) Do you know how easy it is to say things when you don’t have to stand behind them? In the age of the internet it’s simple and quite frankly sad that people can take any pot shot they want and not have to show any responsibility. (I take pot shots all the time, but my name is on here, I stand behind it. Do I make enemies because of it? Sure, but I hope at least people respect me because I say what’s on my mind and don’t hide behind a fake or anonymous name)

Another thought to chew on…as I have noted many times, our industry is in a rough patch and there’s a good chance this is not the end of bankruptcy filings. It will probably be the biggest one, but I’ll be stunned if it’s the last. I hope I am wrong because if it’s the last for a while that means things will be getting better. (And if you file be prepared for USGlass to dig up everything on it, they are relentless journalists)

I know there are folks out there who have serious beefs with Arch or the ownership. Hey when you are in the industry as long as we have been and have grown the way we have and have dealt with so many things, you will have enemies… several of them. (Competitors, suppliers, ex employees etc…) That said I don’t expect this week’s posts to pacify any of those folks… as readers of my blog know, I do this for therapy… and believe me writing this helps.
In fact I have actually started a journal on this process, what I did, who I talked to, what I think and so on. Who knows someday it may make an interesting book. In any case it’s therapeutic for sure.

The lesson learned is that things that you expect to never happen can happen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the day would come where Arch would be in this spot. But it did and I have to deal with it and make the best of it. I am confident that we will emerge from it better and smarter. So I guess my point is whatever comes my way I can deal with. I am thankful for the support and saddened by the venom. But I’ll handle bad while being so very grateful for the good.

As those of you who read this also know is I fashion myself as an industry watch dog… that said I am sure the folks at the NFRC and Marc LaFrance at DoE (if he’s awake- sorry can’t escape all the snark) are probably loving this turn of events… and guess what they should. I pounded away at them for what I perceived as ineptitude so obviously they can surely take glee in our current place. But that said I comment on the industry as an observer- not an employee of Arch. I rarely if EVER mention Arch on here. Look it up if you don’t believe me. I take pride in trying to stay independent as someone who lives and loves this industry. And my comments here on this blog are strictly my opinion- I do this as an independent person without edit or censor. That said hopefully my comments going forward will be held in the same light as they were in the past. And I take it seriously to comment on things that are not good for us as a whole and will continue to do so.

Last… I wish this on no one. Having to deal with all of the angles that are out there is seriously un-fun. It’s horrible actually. But at the end of the day I will be a better person for it, Arch will be a better company for it, and we will get through this one way or another. Wrongs will be righted and life will move on.

Thank you for reading.


I thought about the links and video and decided I need to skip it this week… the above is heavy stuff for me, and doing links on waterskiing squirrels or videos of Tiger Woods crashing into a fire hydrant just won’t cut it… it will return next week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Despite the incredible frustrations of the times we really do have a lot to be thankful for. Now that sounds pretty canned as something anyone would say around this time of year. But I believe it actually. I am thankful for the folks I have the honor to work with- from my co-workers to my suppliers to our customers. (Also my friends that happen to be competitors or not fit in any of these categories) I count myself as blessed because of those groups and I am sure I am not alone. We all have to fight the battles these days but we’re not in it alone- and hopefully- sooner than later- the roller coaster will be going in the up direction! In any case to all who read, comment and support this blog a happy and healthy thanksgiving to ya!


Short week… short post… heck let’s just skip to the links shall we?

Off to the Links!

Some great ones from the "Link Chick" this week.. (a Happy Turkey Day to you too LC)

-- If you came of “age” in the mid to late 80’s and watched any MTV, then you probably enjoyed the game show “Remote Control”- it really was ahead of its time. Sadly, it’s host- Ken Ober passed this week.. Here’s a good, quick, piece on his legacy.

-- CRAZY story on a shortage of Eggo Waffles… seriously… and yes the Link Chick and my wife BOTH said the same thing to me on this… “thank god it wasn’t Pop Tarts”… oh you better believe it… if Pop Tarts starts a shortage, that’s like nuclear winter for me.

-- Interesting story… group refuses to pay “mandatory tip” on its food bill because service was miserable…. What happens next? They get busted… but still you wonder if there’s a better way to get the message across… or was this the best way?

Video of the Week

This week’s video comes for a buddy of mine who is close friends with this performer… they actually go to Miami Dolphin games together… so I can’t wait to see what he finds out when he asks her about this fall flat on her behind during the American Music Awards… it’s Jennifer Lopez- and you have to either watch until the 2:33 mark or fast forward to that because soon after she comes crashing down… but she handles it well… still I’ll be waiting for the inside scoop… (By the way this buddy also sits next to big time pro golfers and is friends with the Williams sisters too... no clue why he keeps company with folks like me!!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let's hope this is not true...

The relative positivity of last week’s Greenbuild show went away pretty quick when I picked up a story that said some analysts see the commercial glass industry struggling until… get this… 2013! Seriously that was a prediction and the first I have seen that has not shown the uptick coming by the end of 2010. Just typing this boggles my mind, but we’ve had such a solid run for a long time, you just can’t fathom that some of the tough times could continue that long. But when you read stats like Atlanta having enough empty commercial buildings to last 14 years, it may actually come true. For the good of our industry and our personal health, let’s hope this call is wrong.


-- Ironically, the ABI (Architectural Billings Index) did well last month scoring best since the credit crunch hit. It’s a bumpy road folks no doubt, let’s keep hoping for the best.

-- Greenbuild did end pretty well and looks like they’ll have everyone back in Chicago next year exhibiting again. I picked our booth out and in the ginormous McCormick Center, you’ll be able to find me somewhere near Milwaukee. Instead of spokesmodels I may hire Sherpas to lead people to the booth.

-- In the November issue of USGlass (the one with incredible Art Gallery of Ontario on the cover) the letters to the editor has a great one from Terry Newcomb of Thermal Windows. Terry hammers home the point about all of the obnoxious spam we get from Chinese companies looking to steal our businesses. Thank you Terry for stepping up and having your voice heard, you are yet another person who “gets it” when it comes to the threat the Chinese are to our way of life.

-- I hate flying as it is, but this week’s flight was even more galling. Sitting in the 2nd row behind the bulkhead. Person in front of me already has great leg room thanks to the bulkhead, and plus it’s a lady who is probably 5 feet tall, 90 pounds soaking wet. So we take off and what does she do? Leans that chair ALL THE WAY back into my ever expanding waistline, crushing my knees to the floor. I look up and over at her (because I can see since she’s leaned so far back on me) and her feet are a good 2 feet away from the bulkhead wall! Simply unreal. I just wish airlines would take away all reclining- it’s never doled out right and it’s already so freakin tight.

-- Wednesday night I spoke at the Top of the Rockies event for the Colorado Glazing Contractors Association. What a tremendous event, honoring the jobs that the glaziers in this territory did throughout the year. The CGCA is a great organization, led by Rebecca Kaspari, that it really should be copied nationwide. As for the awards, Metropolitan Glass represented by Marty Richardson was the night’s big winner. (Kinda like the way Slumdog Millionaire won all the Oscars last year) Good stuff and I was honored to be involved.

-- NFRC is meeting this week and I’ve laid off of it. I’ve gotten some comical notes though on some of the goings on (though nothing as good as people falling asleep in the meetings dang it) and will have more on this next post.

-- Speaking of next post- we’ll have a small post up here next Tuesday the 24th- since my normal Thursday spot is covered by Thanksgiving. (Which in my humble opinion is the best holiday of them all… I love the combo of Food, Family and Football! You simply can’t beat it) So in advance of that, hope everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday and you can eat and be merry with the ones you love and give Thanks for the good things we have in life!

Off to the links…

The “Link Chick” underestimates her value here- last week I met someone who reads the blog and when I thanked them for reading they said “Oh I just read it for the links…” Yep… and this is not the first time that’s been said either… so without further adieu here’s this week’s submissions…

-- Dude makes 85k per year selling shirts off his back… what is wrong with our world?

-- This link is worth it for the pictures… an “open range” zoo in Australia that has come up with a way to get the animals VERY close to you. Wild, wild stuff.

-- Crazy story in Wisconsin about muggers who are so patriotic that if they mug you and find you are a soldier or reservist, they’ll return your stuff.

Video of the Week

Chris McMahon (Phoenix TV star) sent me this one… it’s the epic failure of understanding the automatic sliding glass door. My question is… is this real? Wild to watch no matter what.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Greenbuild Day 2 and beyond

Welcome to Greenbuild with 25,000+ people on hand.. pretty much all of the major players of our industry are here along with any green scheme that can be had. Anyway here are some quick hits on what I saw and experienced so far…

-- Once again it’s a goofy convention center layout. A gigantic hall in the basement and a secondary hall on the third floor (5 escalators up). Yep that’s one horrid layout- not as bad as San Antonio’s famous “kids room” set up for AIA a few years ago but not good either.

-- As mentioned in my post yesterday, I got lucky and for the only time in my life I find my booth next to Edgetech. I’ll never get next to them at Glassbuild because they live in that high rent district and they don’t let my kind in there… but here they are right next door and with a very cool mock up showing the strength of their Tri Seal spacer. That thing is a show stopper for sure. Anyway they have not called show security on me… yet. Still awesome to have a popular booth right next store to draw from!

-- There’s a sign at the front of the halls that say “No Suitcasing” - Which means against show rules to go try and sell someone materials in their booth… so I guess it’s the green way of saying “No Soliciting?” But seriously isn’t that the point of a trade show? Attract customers but also see vendors and have the chance to pick up new customers? (Actually have a picture but for some reason I can't upload it)

-- The drinks at the show come in cups made from corn. How do I know this? It says it on there. Wild stuff.

-- How green is this? After the show Tuesday night- tons of people parked in a parking garage… all trying to leave at the same time- all sitting… cars idling… emissions everywhere…. It took us almost an hour to get out… What do you think the carbon footprint was on that bad boy? Gonna have to have a lot more cups made from “corn” to make up for that debacle.

-- One person I did not get to see today was Chris McMahon from Technoform…. but all of Phoenix did see him as the local TV station interviewed him. Rumor has it he has now hired an agent. Video in case your curious is HERE.

-- Last for this for now (more next week I am sure) kudos to the gang at Viracon for following the rules. Greenbuild said that you were not supposed to bring any paper or brochures to the show... and basically EVERYONE ignored them... except the shrewd folks at Viracon who left the paper at home making them the hero of the environmental crowd! (Note I did not plan on bringing any paper but when I arrived Monday and saw everyone had paper- I relented- dang peer pressure!!)


-- A few years I blogged about going to a baseball game here in Arizona and while it was 110 degrees outside, the roof of the stadium was open and the AC was blasting… at that same venue is where Al Gore gave his keynote address tonight. With record highs here, I wonder if the AC was blasting and how in any case that’s explained as green or good for the environment.

-- You may have caught in the comments from my last post about NFRC extending their elections a week due to lack of quorum. Well it’s true and it’s absolutely hilarious. Why would anyone want to vote in an election that no one is running in? If you only have one choice, what’s the point? But don’t worry somewhere in DC, Marc LaFrance is mumbling to himself about how great the NFRC is… yep they sure are Marc… Anyway this is what the NFRC wanted- they ramrodded the dissenters out and now they have their perfect little group, hopefully the world is watching.

-- Congrats to Bob Larson, saw on USGNN he is now at Texas Tempering as VP of Operations. I was on the GANA Board with Bob for a few years and he is a class character. Best of luck in your new gig!

-- Also on USGNN, the note on Syracuse Glass and their 100th anniversary… props to John Dwyer and his family on the awesome accomplishment. I get to see John once or twice a year at GANA events and he always has a kind word for me… which means he’s in the minority… in any case running a business is brutal and to make it long term like John and his family have deserve a major pat on back!

Off to the Links

-- Like it or hate it, the UFC (Cage Fighting) sure has some characters- like this guy who was so down on his luck before his last fight he was eating the yummy (not)combo of Rice and Ketchup. Interesting story, this guy could be the “Rocky” of the sport with stuff like this.

-- I live in the country so I am always afraid I’ll hit a deer with my car… but this couple in Oklahoma had bigger problems, like almost hitting and ELEPHANT… yep an Elephant!

-- Yep Al Gore and the “green” folks here at the show would be aghast if they read this article on a “green” couple being forced to drive to their recycling center… oh my!

Video of the week

When I saw this one, I actually sent it to the “Link Chick” as she is a Soccer expert. You may have heard about the women’s college soccer player who played VERY rough last week. Well if you haven’t seen it, here it is… absolutely amazing… and the big thing for both me and the Link Chick was how did the Refs miss this and how could the opposing team just “take it”… wild stuff.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Greenbuild underway

Greenbuild is off and running and in my normal weekly post we'll have the tidbits that you come to expect from me...

All in all should be an interesting show- turnout is expected to be in the 25,000 range- so that should be good.

Have already seen many industry players- lucky enough to be next to Edgetech (more on that in my normal post) and just a few rows away from folks like Trainor, Pilkington (new product line Solar E on Blue), Doralco, RavenBrick (who is showing nicely I must say) Technoform and so on.

Downstairs in the bigger hall I did get to visit with the gang from Viracon (always nice and classy)- and walked by SAGE (very busy), Oldcastle (The big white booth, not the starship dangit), Kawneer (No Henry Taylor- that's a bummer) and Dorma.

More to follow on my normal post- should go up late Weds night-
Also saw Marc and Danik from Walker working the floor- they tried to avoid me, but I was able to chase them down.

Obviously much more to see and report- but after missing Glassbuild & Fall Conference , it was good to see some familiar faces!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New start for a good man

If you know me or are regular reader of this blog you know that I am a huge fan of Greg Carney. In fact if I had to do a list of the top 10 people who had significant historical positive effects on our industry, Greg would surely be on that list. Now, Greg is starting a new chapter of his life and opening up new avenues to help not only our industry as a whole but many, many parts of it. Greg is now an independent consultant and his services and abilities available for the masses. And while I am sure you think this reads like an advertisement, it’s really meant to be an update as when a guy with 28+ years starts something new, its news and it’s something that people should make note of, especially if they need any help in their operations as it relates to the technical side of things. Best of luck to Greg, a good man who is off to do more good things!


-- After I wrote the above and with all of the election stuff in my head… I thought to myself, “This message brought to you by Greg Carney for industry guru… and then Greg would say I’m Greg Carney and I approve this message” I gotta stop watching TV.

-- GANA did a great job on Wednesday with a webinar updating everyone on the various code movements. If you missed it that was too bad… These things are waaaay too important not to take an hour and listen to. Heck you could eat your lunch while following along. Anyway lots of things happening on the IECC, ASHRAE, ASTM and NFRC front- too much for me to go on in great detail here- but I am confident GANA is working to get our best interests protected but they still need everyone to follow along.

-- I just finished teaching a 4 week course with the NGA Glass Management Institute. My part was a smaller piece of a bigger curriculum- and I was honored to be involved in such a great thing. The people taking part in the GMI really are amongst the smarter folks around because they are bettering themselves and their companies through education instead of sitting still.

-- Funny on how this blog has grown… today I had someone repeat back some things I wrote a couple of years ago… and they weren’t flattering things either… (I was on one of my famous soapbox rants... that's a major oops... gotta self edit myself better!) Anyway thank you all for reading and even remembering- the bad and the good. October was another great month of traffic, so again THANK YOU I truly appreciate you being a part of my therapy.

-- Brett Favre is amazing. Somehow he gets it done. The NFC sure looks like it will be New Orleans and Minnesota down to the wire…

-- Next week is Greenbuild… hearing of more and more people attending… should be very interesting to see how the mood and attitude is- especially after the Solar show last week was so over the top. I'll try to do updates each night ahead of my main post.

-- And no not going to NFRC’s 20th birthday party… I will be in a much better place… I’ll be in Denver at the Top of the Rockies with the awesome Colorado Glazing Contractors Association. There’s a handful of glazing groups in this country that are really, really solid, and I personally think the CGCA is the best of the best.

-- Speaking of NFRC, I do enjoy their blog though and laugh at how much they now use it… just a few years ago the blog concept was poo-poo’d by those guys. Must be the John Lewis factor. (anything good done at NFRC I credit to John.. gotta be him)

-- Last… saw a bid today for a parking garage that had 22 general contractors bidding it… and even though it only had a couple thousand sq ft of glass you can bet they’ll be 40 glaziers bidding.

Book of the week:

-- Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. If you love the NFL, Peter King is the premier writer on it for Sports Illustrated. He’s also, like me, a graduate of the best University in the state of Ohio..Ohio University. Anyway great and easy read on everything football including a controversial list of the top 100 football players of all time. Good stuff.

Off to the Links:

Link Chick was trying to take it easy on me this week… she normally sends me like 100 links and I pick out the best 3 or 4… this week she told me to check my archives… anyway here ya go…

-- Since we are talking football, one of the bigger disappointments this year has been the Redskins.. and now they are going out of their way to treat the fans… well not good…

-- If you find yourself in Iceland and have the jones for a Big Mac… well you’ll be outta luck.. Mickey D’s is closing there… (but don’t worry I am sure they have 76 Starbucks still)

-- Great read in the New York Times on Al Gore and he’s dual role as green advocate and green investor.

Video of the week:

Every few months I ask for people to send videos if they have- so if you have a good one, send the link to me… always looking… This week… since we talked a lot of football above, it’s a football video… this from Las Vegas- looks like a minor league team, the punt return is going great until…. Uh oh..

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I see the future...

There are a lot of people out there who don’t see solar products as a great future entity- especially in our industry. However I think solar products will have a significant effect and today 18,000 people on the floor of the Solar Power International show agreed with me. This trade show was jam packed, making me remember the days of the old Builders Shows that cramped the aisles. There is no question that a thirst for knowledge on the solar products exists and also no doubt that we as an industry are still working out the answers. Smart companies like Weaver’s Glass of Harrisburg, PA were on the floor doing research. Those folks are getting ahead of the curve. Anyway at the end of the day I believe this material will be in our world in some make or fashion, so get prepared….

Also the show was a throwback to better days too. Booth’s had giveaways and get this- SPOKESMODELS! There were professional spokesmodels everywhere (all the ones I talked to asked me if my brother was at the show…) and if anything shows that people are spending money, it’s a tradeshow stocked with spokesmodels. Something tells me in 2 weeks at GreenBuild we won’t see many professional models dressed up as sexy Royal Canadian Mounties (yes, seriously) on the floor, or else the green architects will probably have massive heart attacks.


-- Also on the floor at SPI, our pals from Solutia. What a great company but really the reason they are as good as they are is they have easily some of the best people around. They are like an all-star team over there. Also I was going to stop in at Cardinal’s booth but was afraid there might be my picture on the wall saying “Do not talk to this blogger”

-- Oh and comically, the show being held AFTER this Solar show is the “Disaster Prevention” show. Man isn’t that what we all do daily anymore? Maybe I should stay for that and I can lead a seminar.

-- URGENT! GANA is doing a free webinar on November 4th to update you on the world of code changes within ASTM and ASHRAE and so on. It’s scheduled for an hour and quite frankly it’s a must. Get up to speed from the experts and sign up for the webinar now. You can reserve your seat at the meeting by clicking HERE. If you are in this business, then you NEED to know what’s going on with these codes because it WILL affect you.

-- By the way speaking of ASHRAE, I saw a poll on line about it- and the question was something along the lines of how do you think the ASHRAE moves will affect you. 51% said negatively, 2% said positively (they need their heads examined) and the rest basically did not know anything about it. So in simple terms it’s scary when ½ the industry doesn’t know what’s going on and the other half who goes is against it… yikes.

-- Speaking of scary, I really though Brett Favre was going to lead the Vikings to win vs. the Steelers late in the game Sunday…

-- By the way folks, if you are doing your budgets for next year, please budget to be at BEC. I may have moved on (which is probably a good thing) as host, but the show will still be awesome. In fact I have every confidence that my good friend Henry Taylor of Kawneer has an incredible conference lined up. Add in the networking- which is a must during tougher times- and you have an event not to be missed.

-- Cool thing to look at… check out this link.. it’s a glass spec from 1910! Somehow I think there are still a few architects that are using it… or only updated it to add Spectrum, Interpane and Polarpane as suppliers…

-- One final note on Solar… a great blog item HERE on the differences on doing solar business in California and Texas… Shockingly (sarcasm intended) Texas is better!!! Yep, a state that is not over regulated and over wrought is better for things… stunner… I hate to bag on California but my bitterness comes from the NFRC and California and the desire to bring California over-regulation to the rest of the world… and just curious what state is healthier now economy wise? Job wise? Hmmmmmmm (disclosure, I have always been partial to Texas anyway- big fan of many people there- but wow when you do the comparisons, Texas surely does rule)

Off to the links…

The hardest working chick in the business is back with more cool links…. “Link Chick” take it away..

-- Yep, the Chinese drywall issue took another turn… now insurance companies will cover…

-- Losing a big soccer game because of a beach ball on the field?

-- If being 5’10” and 120 pounds is overweight… my gosh I can’t even think of the term they’d use for me… anyway this model got fired for somehow being “overweight”…wrong…

Video of the Week:

Last week was the awesome hockey goal… this week it’s a very cool, and VERY long soccer goal… check it out…

SMU Freshman hits 95-yard Soccer Goal @ Yahoo! Video

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

30/30 was Dirty/Dirty!

Well the good ole 30/30 was back in the news this week. As you may remember when the 30/30 provision was snuck into the “Stimulus” earlier this year I railed pretty hard against it. (The 30/30 is the short name for a residential window program that can give up to $1500 in tax credits for windows that meet a .30 shading coefficient and .30 U value) Basically creating a one size fits all window program for a country that is FAR from being one size fits all lacked any and all logic. Amazingly it looks like more people agreed with me and now Washington is working on changing the program. All I can do now is laugh, as when it came out I was told how great the 30/30 was and how it was going to “save” the industry. Yep…it’s saving the industry just like the stimulus is saving jobs… ooops… but seriously no one with a clue could think that this was a good program right? It was snuck into the legislation at 3AM and no one with any insight or experience into the industry was consulted on it. My fellow blogger over at the awesome DWM (Door and Window Manufacturer Magazine) Jim Plavecsky had a tremendous take that I strongly recommend you check out HERE.


-- Yep sorry to go political but my gosh it sure gets frustrating…. And believe me I can go on and on and on… but we’ll save all of you from that wrath…

-- I saw the big coverage of McGraw Hill’s Outlook conference last week and the headlines all over was construction growth… (Most people trumpeted the 11% “growth”) but when I read inside the numbers it told me a different story… Commercial building is going down 4%, Institutional down another 2% and manufacturing buildings will go down 14%.... the “growth” comes from public works, utility construction, and residential. So while I am thrilled residential is slated to come back, the unfortunate part of the story is that the commercial industry could have another ugly year ahead.

-- Big game in the NFL this weekend… will the Vikings continue their amazing run? This week will be a tough test for Favre and the boys in Pittsburgh… and by the way I like Brett Favre for one reason… I am older than him, but he looks like 25 years older than me, so that makes me feel good. (He may be a great player, but I age better!!)

-- Congrats to Tom Huff and the gang from Mr. Go Glass as they were awarded the “Outstanding Outreach Award by the Delaware Department of Highway Safety” for promoting highway safety and awareness. They are a class company and I like to always prop folks that do things that put our industry in a positive light! Plus I have a soft spot for the family run business… good work folks!

-- I’m a big fan of Chris Mammen, owner of M3 Glass technologies… more so now when you read this blog post of his on the need for people to get involved in the on-going code battles in our industry. Good stuff… and good advice, if you don’t listen to a hack like me, listen to him…

-- I got this story from a bunch of people.. it’s the classic shower door glass “blowing” up that the local TV stations just love to cover. The reason most people sent it to me was they are convinced it has to be Chinese glass… but the funny thing I took from it was that the glass shop guy HAD to be misquoted when he said he didn’t think tempered glass could break…

-- Last, welcome to yet another new Blogger… Rick Kalson is now keeping a blog with a focus on the legal arena. Rick has spoken at a few BEC’s, is a member of GANA and a true blue supporter of our industry and a good guy. And full disclosure, I played youth basketball with Rick and was sure he’d be the next Kevin McHale… but I guess being a legal eagle is not bad either…

Off to the links:

The “Link Chick” was on FIRE this week… some really cool linkage for you to check out below…

-- Check out the medals for the 2010 Winter Olympics…. Ummm aren’t they supposed to be round?

-- You know how you keep hearing that the Mayan’s say the world will end in 2012? Well now they say that’s not the case… Funny piece here as they have much bigger priorities than the earth’s demise. Actually the world ends when I become an NFRC Board member.

-- Insurance companies dropping Chinese drywall policies… sad stuff for people who got stuck with houses with this toxic junk in it.

-- Patrick Patterson, the true blue stud of “Lex Vegas” aka University of Kentucky, is a good man. Wow compare his deed to those of the other team in the state of Kentucky.. what a difference.

Video of the Week:

Last week’s video was Jamie Kennedy and the pool.. soon after I featured it, he broke up with his girlfriend Jennifer Love Hewitt… hmmm could it be a “From the Fabricator” love jinx? Anyway this week’s video is awesome, probably the most amazing shoot out goal you will ever see… and it was by a 9 year old! Could we be watching the next Sid Crosby here? Even if you don’t like hockey, give this video a whirl…

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not taking the "LEED"

Every once in a while I get reminded of things that frustrate me. Actually that happens pretty much daily these days. My temper is stupidly short and it’s driving me crazy. Anyway that’s my problem, not yours. The issue at hand today is LEED and the value that it is “supposed” to add to a project. I was sent this interesting article on LEED and it really got me going. You know what its crazy how much power this thing has. I have mentioned in passing on past posts that many people think I should spend more time talking about LEED then ripping the NFRC and you know what I think they may be right. But for the time being I think the bloom is coming off the LEED rose. Building owners are going to surely want more from their building than a big gigantic plaque on the wall and if LEED’s changes don’t deliver that it surely will be interesting on how this thing progresses in a tough market.


-- By the way, can anyone answer how 500 miles is the “magic” distance in the LEED world? As a biddy mentioned to me, why 500 and not 400 or 600? What’s the science?

-- Speaking of LEED, correction here- last week’s post about Kawneer’s LEED blog attributed the column to Les Seasholtz, it was actually written by Eddie Bugg. Sorry for that, always want to give credit where credit due.

-- And last on this… for this week anyway… anyone going to GreenBuild? Hey at least it’s Phoenix in November and considering it’s already winter in the Midwest that’s an enticement for sure.

-- Saw the excellent article/interview with Tom Harris on USGNN last week. No doubt this is a good man, class act and someone who will surely be heard from again in our industry. You have to have a ton of respect for what he’s accomplished that’s for sure.

-- NFRC… its election time and guess what… they have 4 seats open and 4 candidates running! Now that’s an election baby! Just when you think this group has turned the corner some (John Lewis) they screw it up and can’t have a normal election…(hmmm I wonder why?) A few years ago when we were fighting for change the NFRC election had the most candidates and most votes ever… then they kept the status quo- we couldn’t get traction (for obvious reasons- like having Marcia Falke run in a category that should be fabricators) and now you have a totally worthless election… yep somewhere Marc LaFrance still thinks this group represents a consensus of our industry despite the fact no one wants anything to do with it because it will never be able to be changed. Anyone with a hint of logic knows better…. Anyway I am telling everyone to vote for Mr Abstain…. Afterall “abstain” almost won a few years ago….

-- Funniest part for me is TRACO keeps their seat that Mike Manteghi held for the last few years by sending his co worker Sneh Kumar. Just remember when you get caught in the NFRC mess what company helped push it…. And don’t worry I’ll remind you if you forget. And I know people at TRACO hate me, they share that with everyone out there… and that’s fine but I sleep well at night that I fight hard for the industry I love. (And sadly I am sure I'll get in trouble for saying it, but this is MY opinion.....so when you get mad my TRACO buds, stay mad at me...)

-- Baseball is down to its “Final Four” and I gotta think the powers that be would kill for a Yankee/Dodger series… the ratings would be unreal. Now if they could get the games to last less than War & Peace it would be really awesome.

-- Does the stock market amaze you? Over 10,000 and yet credit still virtually frozen and unemployment is rampant. Just very odd… I am not an econ guy so I just don’t get why certain things happen. But this one is pretty mystifying to me.

-- My “favorite” Senator Olympia Snowe was all over the news this week… beware folks, wait til she throws in some goofy provision in the health care reform at 3AM because someone told her it was a good idea… scary how much power some people have…

-- I swear I’ll be in a better mood next week! If not I may be sleeping on the back porch.

Off to the Links….

Links from the hardest working woman in the blog-world… the “Link Chick”…

-- Want Yankee tickets? Mortgage the house… twice…. Great piece here about greed and loyalty.

-- Pet Bear kills a woman…. Ummm since when did a Bear become a pet?

-- MUST READ.. the Top 10 “Bubbles” due to burst… #1 on the list is good and bad….

Video of the Week:

This week the video comes via my brother…. Very funny and crude that’s for sure… not sure I’d belong to this club…

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Staying on top of it...

First up, response has been solid to the call for action from GANA on the whole ASHRAE issue but there’s still some people who have not weighed in… seriously if you haven’t jumped in on this, you need to. If you don’t care about losing work, then good for you, but for the rest of us in the real world, getting involved in this issue is an absolute must. Last week GANA presented their argument at subcommittee hearings in Atlanta and things went well, but this is only the start, we are still nowhere near to being out of the woods yet. Get involved. Plus, the people doing the talking right now, namely Stanley Yee and Helen Sanders are spectacular. They are not conspiratorial hacks like yours truly. They are top notch, classy and intelligent professionals who we are blessed to have speaking for us. Throw in the efforts of everyone else on the GANA energy committee and you have a group worthy of your support. Get with GANA today.
Plus knowing that GANA's Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell is a fan of "24" gives me confidence that she has some Jack Bauer qualities that we need representing us!


-- Last week my post was not linked, so if you missed it, keep paging down. There are people who got props in that post who deserve the heads up the blog just gave them (and to reach the whole audience!)

-- Still little movement covering the credit crisis in this country BUT the Wall Street Journal did have an op-ed on it last week. Great piece here on this whole debacle that somehow is getting little to no coverage.

-- What a week for fans of Minnesota sports teams… Monday the Vikes win a big one (They sacked the Packer QB so many times that I think I even saw Garret Henson get one or two) Tuesday the Twins win an amazing playoff game vs the Tigers and then the Wild cap off the night with a 4-3 win after being down 3-0. Karma is rolling in the twin cities direction that’s for sure.

-- Leftover from the GlassBuild show… heard some good things… the biggest is “quality over quantity” of visitors and that’s usually the case in Atlanta anyway. The people who go to Atlanta usually go because they have to… the people who go to Vegas (when it’s there) go because they “want” to. I also heard that the Walker Texture booth was jam packed but those guys stopped returning phone calls and e-mails from me, they are now big time and will only talk to accredited media… not bloggers.

-- The Kawneer blog had a great take on LEED… or LEEDS… or LEDD… or whatever you want to call that famous green building program. It is comical how people look at it and try to communicate it and Eddie Bugg did a nice job breaking it all down as it’s one thing to get the jist of the program, but it’s another to actually call the program by its proper name…. (and in some parts of the world they call it “rip off” but that’s another story… for another time)

-- Congrats to Guardian for the coverage of their ShowerGuard product on “Bathtastic”… I love it when our industry gets positive press and this surely was. This is not the first time ShowerGuard has appeared on TV, so it’s pretty cool the coverage continues to come their way.

-- Last, a tremendous addition to the blog world in Chuck Knickerbocker. He brings some great experience and passion to our fair medium and I think you will enjoy his insights. In case you missed it, his debut post ran on Wednesday and is HERE.

Book of the Week:

On Rocky Top by Clay Travis- First if you are a fan of the University of Tennessee football, then you probably already read this. If not it’s a must. But if you are just a college football fan and you want a really cool and unique inside look at a major college program about to go through big changes, this book is it. What “Season on the Brink” was to hoop, this book is to football… good stuff…

Off to the Links:

The “Link Chick” came through yet again… here’s some of her best of the week…

-- I’m a casual guy but this lawyer who wants to wear jeans and a baseball hat in court is waaaay too casual for me…

-- Not only did the “Link Chick” send this to me, but so did several other people… it’s about how Detroit is so broke that we can’t bury our dead… yep I live here…

-- The Empire State Building honored China last week… oh yippee….

Video of the Week:

From old friend and co worker John Lang…. ah dating in the 60’s with a bit of cluelessness…. funny stuff...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Leaving the glass show coverage to the professionals…. My top story this week is the continued attempts by scammers to rip you off. You know the e mails you get asking you for 40 pieces of glass 30 x 30 and asking what terms of payment you desire? Every day I get one of these bogus requests and it just amazes me that somewhere along the way someone is falling for it. It’s the preying on people who are slower than normal, and need the work. While I have no idea how people get away with this and also have the time and wherewithal to pull of this scam, it’s just sad t hat it happens. So folks, be vigilant… and seriously is something just drops in your lap and it sounds too good to be true… it probably is….


-- The other funny daily e mail I get is from a firm in China who sends their pitch with a picture of a very attractive woman at the bottom. You know so you think it’s coming from her. That’s a classic! Yep, we’re all so stupid here that the hot babe at the bottom of the page will make us want to call RIGHT NOW!

-- A little late on this but major props to the gang at Technoform. A few weeks ago they put out a must download and read white paper on the always evolving fenestration codes. If you missed (shame) it’s here for the reading and saving. Good stuff and props to the people at Technoform who put it together.

-- I guess that more positive Architectural Billings Index in July was a mirage eh? Add that to some of the numbers I am hearing coming out of the show and man 2010 does not look good.

-- Speaking on not looking good if anyone can locate the 2009 Steeler Defense and return them to the field for the late 4th quarter of games all Steeler fans would be appreciative.

-- And while I am on the sports angle… Hockey starts Thursday… good to have the sport back… but if you have Direct TV you won’t be able to see much hockey since Direct TV doesn’t carry Versus anymore and that’s where the NHL has its contract… maybe for their next deal the NHL will sign with a real firm, like Key Communications…

-- One thing I am sorry I missed at the show was the Glass Executive Forum and the panel with Henry Taylor, Rod Van Buskirk and Newton Little. I really like and respect all three of those men and I am sure they put on a fantastic piece. Plus I can say I knew Henry before he became “famous”

Off to the links…

Still tons of links piling up from weekly scans by the awesome “Link Chick”… here’s a few for your enjoyment…

-- If you eat out a lot then you probably should read this article… it’s the top 10 dirty little restaurant secrets…. Or maybe you shouldn’t on 2nd thought… good article though.

-- What do you get when you mix alcohol, nudity, Florida and a 91 year old man? A pretty wild story.

-- A tremendous read on a High school football game touched by tragedy but saved by class.

Video of the Week:

Not sure if you saw the Conan O’Brien fall this week… but here it is… head hits the floor hard...guess he got a concussion and missed a show…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Call to Action

This is the most important blog post you will ever read… well at least this week that is. But seriously, it’s a call for action because despite the tough economic conditions out there, business still goes on and more importantly codes still get written and enacted. If you don’t take the time to read the info below and reply, then you are doing your company and your industry a disservice.
Ok here’s the deal. As I have noted here a few times, glass and the use of glass is under attack. Basically there are many people out there who would have no problem with seeing buildings with a lot less glass on them. And some of those people have power when it comes to the codes. As an industry we are at a weakness because unfortunately the Glass Industry Code Committee is dissolving. However the Glass Association of North America (GANA) is willing and able to step into the fray and fight on for us… for the industry. But to do this, they need your support. If you are a GANA member you should’ve gotten a survey on this topic. You need to get that survey filled out and back to GANA. The goal is to see if the support is there within the organization to have GANA adopt the GICC charter and keep up and advance the efforts at the code level.
This one is serious and legit. Glass gets beat on because of its alleged lack of energy properties but you and I both know that’s a crock. If the codes get pushed and glass area gets reduced that will hurt us on every level. Right now the industry has a great consensus going on behalf of this issue, but when it comes to the GANA membership we are still missing a portion of the input that is needed.
I have to note, this plea is from me and not GANA. I am not a board member and I do this as an independent, industry caring person. And also someone who loves to sell glass and would hate to see square footage go away unnecessarily. So step up- get with GANA and protect your future interests today! If you need or want more details on this, feel free to e mail me at maxbcat@aol.com for more info.


-- Paul Bieber wrote a great piece in his blog this week about his old plant in CT closing. If you missed it, click HERE. Tough go of it right now folks… and speaking of that… these tough times are claiming some very talented people, one of them being Tim Moore. I have worked with Tim for years and he’s pretty freakin incredible on the tech side. I would hope if you are in the market for one of the greatest technical minds around, you contact Tim. His e-mail is tjbearmoore@aol.com .

-- The New York Times had an article on the solar industry recently and there was a great comparison in there… basically it said this… what’s the difference between getting oil from the middle east and solar panels from China…. Fantastic comment… we want energy independence but we’re not headed that way with some of the maneuvers going on in the solar world… and yes I did catch the tariff on Chinese tires that hit last week… now waiting for that protection to come to the glass/solar side. (Yep I know starting a trade war is bad…. But still….)

-- The Twitter Top 10… last blog I listed a national list… well its time for the top 10 that I think are interesting- both from an industry and interest standpoint. If you don’t twitter than you can skip, but if you do, I’d go find these guys and follow them….Here they are:

10. /Solarfeeds- You want to follow the solar world, its here… they update it like 1000 times a day.

9. /greenbizdaily- Great green news and info

8. /NatGlassAssoc- Very good effort in keeping it updated, and uses twitter well to prop the upcoming show as well.

7. /aluminumnews- links on the other side of our business

6. /darrenrovell1- He is CNBC’s sports marketing reporter (gosh that’s a dream job!!) and he always has pretty cool tweets.

5. /jaketapper – He is ABC’s chief White House reporter… it is worth the read to see people on the right accuse him of being a liberal and people on the left accuse him of being a neo-con. And best is he replies to these folks.

4. /glassnation- this is GANA’s contribution and great stuff.

3. /usglass- Yep I am suck up, but seriously like what they do and a great way to get the news quick.

2. /sportsguy33 – this is the page of Bill Simmons who is ESPN’s sports guy. Simply the top sports writer in the US today- bar none. No one mixes pop culture and great sports insight like he does. (well I do, but I am in the glass industry)

And #1 on my unofficial list…

/PPGIndustries- Many reasons… they were the first of our industry out… they update it a ton (which is a brutal task) and the stuff they update it with has been pretty cool. Our industry gets picked on for being slow and behind the times, but at least in this case PPG was right on it.

Off to the links…

The “link chick” did not take the week off like I did so I have like 3000 stories from her… I may actually do a post over the weekend with the overflow… especially since I know many of you only read this blog for this section!!

-- Classic… the top most bizarre playgrounds in the world…. Yeah not sure I’d let my kids near any of em.

-- A story that makes you wonder how they figure this stuff out… ready…. Give a cow a better mattress and they produce more milk…. It’s true!

-- And the best of the week… as someone who has placed his share of bizarre ads, here’s a look at ad’s that had some really bad placements… great stuff…

Video of the Week:

This is fantastic video of two Clemson football fans just completely devastated after they lost to Georgia Tech… the best part is the announcers just having a field day with these guys… I am guessing this guy had a ton of money on the game…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No post this week

After 267 posts, and pretty much at least one post per week for 4 years, I am taking this week off. I'll be back next week with the Top 10 Twitter list and probably some sort of slam on communist chinese NFRC members that also are lawyers. (or Bankers, since they are more evil than lawyers these days... and remember any law rant does not include the legendary Kim Mann- he's not "one of them")

Hope everyone is well....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Brutal Banks

I was heartened by the reaction from last week’s blog and the top story of the banks and frozen credit. It’s nice to see it wasn’t just me. However the scary things keep propping up- whether it’s the report of a Bear market ahead or even a full scale depression, the economic news has not been cherry. So the media’s lack of focus on this and the governments lack of action or discussion is pretty frightening. Then again those of you who know me, know that I am a natural reactionary and prone to over-hype, so maybe this is much ado…


-- From all accounts last week’s GANA Fall conference went very well. Congrats to all who put it together.

-- I was one of the thousands that watched the webcast on the last day and was impressed by the line-up of speakers and their messages. Of course the highlite for me was the presentation by John Lewis of NFRC… and I came away impressed. As some of you know who have been following this adventure, John came to NFRC after a stint at AAMA, so he was keenly aware of all of the shenanigans that have gone on. I think that and the fact that John is just a good man, have given some perspective and open-ness that the NFRC has never had before. John’s presentation at Fall Conference was very good overall- especially in tone. He did not talk down to the audience or accuse them of being cheaters. He surely did not call them rats or tell them the reason NFRC is doing this is because they can’t be trusted. (As past NFRC speakers have)He took the high road and probably came away with more people wanting to help than has happened in the last 5+ years of this debacle combined.

-- Basically if John Lewis was in charge in 2004, this program may already be done and good. Instead he has to do massive goodwill to make up for the lack of transparency or care that was perpetrated by his predecessors. There is no doubt there are still warts and roadblocks with this program, but at least it’s in hands that I think are trustable. The problem still lies within the need of the program itself, how it was put together and who ultimately benefits. As long as the labs and inspection agencies can gain financially while all of us have to pay for a program no one actually called for, that’s going to be a problem.

-- Ok moving on… as ½ my audience just clicked away….

-- Still a relatively quiet Hurricane season… but got this very interesting article from Dr. Culp… can Bill Gates stop hurricanes? (No Bill.. No, just Hurricane Impact Glass and Metal can!!!)

-- One of the things that I have endorsed in the past is learning during the slow times. Education and advancement of such is a big item to me. So much so that I am personally involved with the Glass Management Institute. I believe in what this program has to offer overall and the instructors that have signed on are top notch (and heck of a lot better than me!). Anyway, learn or send your folks to learn- get ahead of the curve. Click here for more info.

-- A couple of weeks ago USGNN did a note on the scams that are continuing through the industry. It really has become amazing that these scammers continue to try. I get 2-3 e-mails a day from these shysters. It’s really a sad thing that is happening here, nothing worse than praying on vulnerable people.

-- Football kicks off Thursday night with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers… so time to make my predictions for this year… as much as I love the Steelers, I am not taking them to repeat… just too tough… so your new champs will be….. and it hurts to type this… the New England Patriots… ugh. Hopefully this prediction goes as well as my $4 for gallon of gas by July 09…

-- Last, saw that there’s a new group out there… the Global Glass Conservation Alliance…. The odd thing was, as far as I could follow from their press release, The National Windshield Repair Association… doesn’t the new makeover seem like a jump? Anyway I am going to research before I endorse or scorch, but on first blush I am leery.

Off to the LINKS….

The “Link Chick” checks in a bevy of goodness….

-- From Power Ranger to MMA fighter? Look out for Tommy Oliver… (and by the way for you Power Ranger fans, Dino Thunder was the best…)

-- The Top 10 Twitter feeds you should follow…. According to CNN… which makes me want to do my own list… and I think I will… look for it next week!

-- And speaking of “Twitter” it’s now a word in the dictionary… that and 263 other new words…

Video of the Week…

A few weeks ago I ran a video with a TV Reporter having a mishap with a skateboard. Well from the same site, another “Failure” but this one is maybe more brutal… the proposal… in public… oh my…

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The secret of frozen credit markets

Last week I teased the latest release of the Architectural Billings Index (ABI). The July report was surely more positive than the previous editions but still treading below where it used to be. But the telling part of the story was a quote by the AIA’s chief economist. He commented that one of the reasons that business is tough right now is that the banks are not lending. And in that comment you have the dirtiest little secret around. The biggest story in this country shouldn’t be the health care or Cap and Trade debacles. It should be that the credit markets are still frozen and despite TARP’s, bailouts and stimuli, credit is NOT flowing- thus hampering everything and everyone in its path. Why this issue is getting no media scrutiny is beyond me, but it is a huge reason that architects are not drawing and commercial construction is stuck in the mud.


-- MUST SEE TV….errrr WEBCAST… Thursday (and I know most people don’t read this until Thursday PM, but there’s many who check this out Weds nights when I post) at 8AM CST. The Webcast is live from the GANA Fall conference in Kansas City for the energy portion of the event. The webcast is being sponsored by the fine folks at that up n coming publication Solar Glazing Magazine. So hopefully you get to check it out, it really should be pretty interesting based on the speaker line up. For more information and to jump on to the webcast go to GANA’s website at www.glasswebsite.com or just click HERE!

-- Speaking of GANA, I just hate not being at the Fall Conference… hearing from many people that are there and the reviews have been excellent. Good crowd, strong discussions. Exactly what you expect from a GANA event.

-- The world of LEED has been taking some hits lately…. This week the New York Times weighed in with a piece about the grumblings on whether or not in the long run LEED is worth it. Here’s the article but best line in there was along the lines of “they should have removable screws for the plaques they put up”…. I love it…. It’s funny how many times I hear that the biggest part of LEED is getting that plaque… and not what it’s supposed to do for the building.

-- One more weekend of fake NFL Football and then the real thing… ah I can’t wait! Plus College football starts this weekend… excellent!

-- Short post this week… just way too much going on in the “real” world….

Off to the links!

Thank goodness for the “Link Chick”…. And when I tell her she gets compliments all the time, she totally doesn’t believe it… c’mon like someone in the glass industry would lie?

-- Traveling sucks enough but can you imagine having to stay at a place with beds made of hay? Yeesh!

-- Only in China… they have a basketball league for shorter folks and what happens when someone “too tall” tries to join… mayhem…

-- Can you believe there was still a working bartender left over from the days of prohibition? Well there was… and he just served his last drink…

Comic of the week:
Marg Webb sent this to me…. And it really reminds me of an organization that we all know and love…. click on the comic to make it bigger and easier to read!

Video of the week:
Thanks to Brian Pitman who I know is swamped this week… but he found time to send this quick instant classic in… a ball boy at the US Open… not real graceful…

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another "E" for the DOE

I hammer the Department of Energy a lot and its makes some you squeamish. However they are really deserving of the bashing. Today’s latest? A story in the New York Times about the fact that the DOE doesn’t pay attention to its thermostats! Yes instead of putting in controls to dial thermostats back when people aren’t in their buildings they just let em run! A recent audit shows they could save 11.5 million in annual energy costs by just doing what they tell all of us to do! It’s another classic example of their pathetic waste and why they are allowed to run that division so poorly, when energy is so crucial is a mystery. So add this to the DOE giving money away like candy, blindly allowing the NFRC and other special interests to dominate them, and failing to control their own efficiencies. The NYT piece in its depressing glory is HERE.


-- If it wasn’t already clear enough, the Chinese influence in our lives is pretty severe. This week on the Solar side one of the biggest solar players, Suntech, said the following in the New York Times:
In response to this, and to reduce shipping costs, Suntech plans to announce in the next month or two that it will build a solar panel assembly plant in the United States, said Steven Chan, its president for global sales and marketing. “It’ll be to facilitate sales — ‘buy American’ and things like that,” Mr. Chan said, adding that the factory would have 75 to 150 workers and be located in Phoenix, or somewhere in Texas.
So no need to hide this it’s pretty obvious… you know so they can meet that pesky “Buy American” and things like that…. Yep keep supporting these guys as it’s just a matter of time before they come take your business. By the way in the same article, Suntech said they’d sell solar panels below cost to gain market share too… that’s a healthy maneuver… but they can do that because their government will subsidize them… while our government subsidizes some of the most worthless things ever. And they noted that they have gotten involved with the solar trade groups in order to protect themselves…. Unreal.

-- Speaking of subsidies… the all famous Stimulus money is being used for interesting things… it was reported this week:
Among the most titillating grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health are studies that would:
* Examine "barriers to correct condom use" at Indiana University, at a cost of $221,000.
* Study "hookups" among adolescents at Syracuse University. Study's cost: $219,000.
* Evaluate "drug use as a sex enhancer" in an analysis of "high-risk community sex networks" at the University of Illinois, Chicago. That study will cost $123,000.
* Study how methamphetamine, thought to produce an "insatiable need" for sex among users, "enhances the motivation for female rat sexual behavior." Some $28,000 has been awarded for the University of Maryland at Baltimore study

Yep and while that million or so would not make a dent in the deficit it surely could be put to better use. But I have to ask, how do you get to lead one of those studies and what do you do? Have people out on the street asking if they know how to put their condom on right? I mean seriously?

-- The power of Twitter… GM used the reaction and posts on Twitter to help decide the fate of a new Buick concept vehicle. The “Twitterers” or “Tweeters” said they did not like it and thus GM/Buick killed it. So when people say that social media is just for telling people inane things, evidently some people are taking it very seriously.

-- Speaking of Twitter, the gang at USGlass have been using it to tease the world on their next issue. Evidently it’s a blockbuster… and most likely it gets that status because this month’s offering will NOT feature an article by yours truly….

-- Hey when can we do “Cash” for single pane windows?

-- The latest ABI is out and it actually has better news to it. I'll get into that more next week as a part of the analysis was very interesting.

Off to the Links!

-- Ok maybe this is worse than the above Stimulus sex spending…. A study on if Zombies existed how we would handle an attack…. Yep…. Man people have waaaay too much time on their hands.

-- I am not a fan of the writer Rick Reilly, but this piece on kids who have a rare disease going to Yankee stadium is excellent.

-- Uh oh, beware the killer cow?

Video of the week:

Classic TV news blooper… reporter tries to show her skateboarding “ability” and well you can pretty much guess what happens…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BIM me up Scotty

The story of BIM (Building Information Modeling) has been one that continues to stay in the news. What looked like a “flash in the pan” effect has withered away and every day the BIM movement gets traction. The big move this week was the announcement in Texas that the state facility commission will use BIM for its projects. Steps like this obviously push more legitimacy to BIM which really has been lacking it thanks to many platforms, suppliers and overall styles. Not to mention costs that are pretty intense too. I have been on both sides of the BIM argument (yes I am a flip flopper) as I see the value but I also felt like there’s more hype than true substance. On the value side, it surely could help speed processes and make people more efficient. On the hype side, it’s not everywhere yet, and there’s still a massive majority of architects just not ready to dive in. In any case news like the Texas announcement move the process forward, now we’ll see if some of the issues that plague BIM (platforms, costs etc) will even out and allow it to become more mainstream.


-- By the way, the newest issue of USGlass also has some serious BIM info in it too... always leave it to the talented people there to stay on top of the trends.

-- On the rough side, I have been getting comments and e mails regarding some depressing news in our industry… and yes I have chosen NOT to print it as it is not confirmed. And yes I know I am hypocrite because I did stuff like that in the past… so hammer away at me. But maybe this is me turning over a new leaf as I think I am like many of you out there, just not interested in wallowing someone else’s misery. And right now, there’s a lot of misery… (and if you are not miserable then you are in denial)

-- I am also totally depressed that due to a scheduling snafu I won’t be at GANA’s Fall conference. I was so looking forward to the epic return of Greg Carney and also seeing the great things about our industry. So many good and talented people in one place does help to inspire me and focus. Funny, I am sure there are a couple hundred people who WILL be at Fall Conference thrilled that they know I won’t be there!

-- Greenwashing… yes the process of over-selling your “green” ability has always been an issue… now for those of you who care about this stuff, there’s a 41 page report on the evils of greenwashing… it’s here and it’s actually somewhat interesting…

-- One of the greatest movie lines of all time was from “Stripes” and it was:

John Winger: C’mon, it’s Czechoslovakia, we zip in, we pick em right up, we zip right out again. We’re not going to Moscow, its Czechoslovakia! It’s like going into Wisconsin!
Russell Ziskey: Well I got the **** kicked out of me in Wisconsin once. Forget it!

Well last week, the meaning of getting the crap kicked out of you in Wisconsin came out when a would be robber walked into a bar with the intention of holding it up… except he picked a bar in Janesville, WI that was hosting a night out for Wisconsin POLICE officers! Needless to say… he got the **** kicked out of him in Wisconsin! Life imitates art… I love it.

-- Sad news on the passing of Peter Lisec. Our condolences to his family and the folks at Lisec. You know you are legend when your name is used the way his was. The “Lisec” line is akin to using Kleenex or eating Jell-O. And for most people in our industry automated machinery started and ended with the Lisec products. Obviously a great loss for the industry.

-- Amazing that this week saw our first foray into Hurricane season… but as many people forget Hurricane season goes until November 1st, so there’s a ton of time left to see what happens- though the experts are saying it will be a light season. We will see…. You know the conspiracy theorist in me says we need one to threaten the Gulf, so gas prices can rise just because….

Off to the links…

-- You may not know this but the all famous “link chick” is a world class track and field star…. So I am sure that’s what drives the world’s current fastest man… Usain Bolt with an incredible world record smashing effort…

-- A nun chases down a burglar…. The only thing that would’ve made this story perfect is if the nun was from Wisconsin!

-- And finally, awesome news… the potbelly look is back!! Hooray…. Who needs that diet now! Plus no need to have the Walker boys dress me according to this article, I am in style baby!!

Video of the week:

From the “people have waaaaay too much time on their hands” department…. There’s folks out there that are “mashing” music- basically mixing full songs together… and I was sent one this week- check this out… it’s the classic “We will rock you” set to the tune of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”…. Creative as heck, just wonder who has time to do this stuff!